Madoda Goniwe, who cast his vote at Marikana Combined School in ward 31, said tribalism and corruption had resulted in poor service delivery in Marikana, which is dominated by Xhosa and Tswana speakers.
“The previous council was very corrupt and this corruption filtered down to ward councillors who would make their decisions along tribal lines. You’d find that certain areas are neglected purely because they are populated by certain tribes. There is also no transparency from ward councillors. I take my vote seriously because I want to see change in this township. The roads are bad and there is no service delivery at all,” said Goniwe, who is unemployed and has been a resident in Marikana for three years.
Patrick Molefi, an EFF supporter, said he hoped that his party would win Marikana so that it can unsettle the ANC.
“Corruption has ruined a lot of things for people who live in and around Marikana. ANC is a powerful party and unfortunately many things have gone wrong under its watch. They are comfortable while corruption is dominating their governance. We need EFF to win so that it can watch over the ANC,” said Molefi.
Marikana has become a hugely contested area by political parties after the Marikana Massacre in 2012. ANC, DA and, to some point Cope, enjoyed good support in the area. However, the power dynamic changed when the EFF championed the fight for the rights of mineworkers who had a wage standoff with their employer Lonmin Plc. .
An IEC official in the area said ward 31 and ward 32 were heavily contested by ANC and EFF and that the ruling party seemed to be making a comeback as a dominant force.
“Ward 31 used to be an EFF ward while ward 32 was dominated by the ANC but today most of the people that I personally assisted voted for the ANC. It’s going to be interesting to see how the two parties will do this time around. This could be the most important elections for Marikana because there is no outright leading party,” said the official.
Marikana residents are still plaqued by poor service delivery such as poor roads, lack of constant water supply and electricity. Of its 14,000 residents, 49% live in shacks.